Andrew Carmellini, The Dutch
White-hot New York chef/restaurateur Andrew Carmellini is big on roots. Born in Ohio of Italian descent, he followed his ancestors’ food traditions from his early training at the Culinary Institute of America, and on through an eventual position at the famous restaurant San Domenico in Emilia-Romagna, Italy. Along the way he took a regional detour, exploring French haute cuisine at establishments like Café Boulud, but his acclaimed Locanda Verde in Manhattan brought him back full circle. The restaurant, located in Robert De Niro’s Greenwich Hotel, plates simple but refined Italian fare, and picked up a James Beard Award nomination for Best New Restaurant in 2010.
His other big hit, however, veers toward a more American sensibility despite its name. At The Dutch—with locations on a bustling SoHo corner and, this month, also within the W South Beach—Carmellini creates comfort classics with a global twist. While the original Dutch location is “so New York,” as Carmellini describes it, its Southern sister reflects its environs. “The idea is to cook the best American food we can from the larders available to us as urban beings,” says Carmellini, who was born with Miami in his blood: His father grew up in Little River, and his grandfather was a general manager at Miami’s iconic Surf Club in the ’40s and ’50s. “This city is surrounded by other cultures and ingredients, so why not include them?”
Here, that means a touch of traditional Florida favorites and Latin-Caribbean flair, which translates to oyster sliders, quail with cashew-nut mole, and pies galore. “My grandmother would make sour orange and lemon-meringue pies with fruit from her yard,” he says, “and I really have a soft spot for that.” W South Beach, 2201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-938-3000